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RED Reviews


by Brent Sallay
[Well, Jeremy (my otherwise amenable editor) will probably change my rating to a 4 1/2 or a 5, since, you know, that's the maximum score dictated by the "man." But make no mistake. This is an eight-star album all around. So if you see something other than eight weird ear-looking things up there, go ahead and blur your eyes a little like in one of those 3-D photos until you do. OK, you got it yet? Good. Consider yourself enlightened.]
 
 

Thunder, Lightning, Strike
The Go! Team
Memphis Industries

Don't get me wrong. I tried to fit my rating for this album within the constraints ordained by a cadre of musical critics before me, but The Go! Team doesn't bow to convention, and so nor shall I. To do otherwise would be a crime on par with the sum of all crimes ever committed in the history of the world, and that's including downloading movies and stealing gum.

Besides, every time I try to develop a more modest opinion about this album, The Go! Team just provides me with one more reason to gush. In fact, I can think of, oh, let's say eight reasons (one for each rating point) why this album is at least 60% better than mere five-star albums like Pet Sounds, Kind of Blue, or The White Album.

1. Power. As one of the first singles to this album attests, "The Power Is [indeed] On." The amps are up high and the girls have their yelping voices in tow. But not in a let's-try-to-sound-like-a-grrrrrrl-garage-band kind of way. No, what The Go! Team actually accomplishes with this setup is a feat that will no doubt surprise even the most meticulous readers of this uncharacteristically descriptive review.    

2. Unity. The members of The Go! Team are, above all, a team. In fact, at times, they quite literally sound like a team of cheerleaders calling out commands to the listener, generally to "rock" something or other — "this break," "the microphone," or what have you. The genius of it is that when we as listeners follow suit, for a brief moment, we become part of the team too.

3. Timelessness. No description of this band's sound is complete without mention of at least one band from each of the last four decades, and, as I think time will tell, five from each of the next three. (Beyond that, who knows if we'll even be listening to music anymore?) Most of the tracks from this album would feel very comfortable in a Quentin Tarantino film.   

4. Sentimentality. Equally dispersed amongst the more party-ready tracks are a handful of glorious instrumental numbers that pine nostalgic in a very Peanuts, Sesame Street or Midnight Cowboy sort of way, but of course, never fail to kick out the grooves. If I hadn't had my tear ducts welded shut as a child, I swear it would be enough to make me cry.

5. Did anyone else see a pirate ship when they did that blurry-eyed thing at the beginning of the review, or was that just me? Man, that was weird. I think I need to take my Zyprexa.

6. Power. No, I'm not just mentioning power again to bring up the score. The truth is, there's so much power in this album that one mention of it just simply isn't enough, and interestingly enough (but not ironically), the title Thunder, Lightning, Strike turns out in this case to be an understatement.

7. Syrup, and lots of it. Imagine Mountain Dew without the caffeine or the carbonation. Or a pancake without any dressings. There you have the current state of the music scene. Let me put this another way: Comparing The Go! Team to other bands is like comparing the paradise pancake combo at IHOP to a stenciled picture of a box of generic pancake mix from an expired coupon for three cents off from Fred Meyer

8. Because I said so. If you do nothing else I tell you this year, including the five other things I've told you to do if you did nothing else, then buy this album, please. I am in no way affiliated with this band or its members, but I feel like I have grown so close to them through repeated listens and experiences shared with this album, that I am personally responsible for the band's wellbeing. So please, even if you don't like music. Even if you are deaf, or have to steal money from a deaf person to afford it, please, buy this album, for me, and for The Go! Team. Believe me, even more so than paying the full inflated price for a movie, they're worth it.

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